Saskia Plura

Physics Master Student (M.Sc., Specialisation in particle physics), Johannes Gutenberg-University

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Pursuing a career in STEM is not going to be easy, but remember that you are doing this for you and for nobody else.

What do you do?

I study the fundamental interactions of the elementary particles, focussing on the search for dark matter as part of my master thesis. The goal is to understand how our universe works - so far, we only fully understand a small part of the universe! Before, I also worked on constructing and testing a detector prototype for the BESIII-experiment in Beijing to improve the current detector.

Why did you choose this field?

Ever since I was a child, I used to watch the stars together with my father. With also him being a Trekkie fan, we talked about space a lot and I fell in love with studying the universe. From Astronomy I switched to astroparticle physics when I got to go to DESY during high school, but I only fully switched to particle physics when I had the opportunity to go to CERN for a two week internship the year before graduating from high school. The encouraging environment, the excitement that everyone there shared made one feel welcome and part of something big from the second I stepped foot on the area. It was an amazing feeling and it made me fell absolutely in love with the field. Connecting particle physics and astrophysics in the search for dark matter is simply awesome!

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Getting invited to the 70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting! I often felt that I was "not good enough" so getting invited to this meeting and soon having the chance to talk to the Nobel Laureates is amazing!

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love working in STEM because I love how much creativity and curiosity is displayed every day. Every day, I learn something new and new ideas pop up! My work/study environment is extremely encouraging and kind and thus makes it so much fun to learn, research and explore! Also, I get to go to high schools once in a while and talk about particle physics and my experiences in physics as part of an outreach programme called "Netzwerk Teilchenwelt", which is a thing I always look forward to do.

Best advice for next generation?

Pursuing a career in STEM is not going to be easy, but remember that you are doing this for you and for nobody else. Don't let anyone else take away the fun you have when you do what you love just because it does not suit their views! You are amazing and awesome and don't let anybody else tell you different!

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back!”

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